Phototuts+ Reader Profile: Olivia Bell
Olivia Bell is a 19 year old photographer from England. She doesn't take any particular style of photos, instead she takes a vast range, focusing on being able to capture a person's emotion and beauty. To see more of her work, you can visit her website, follow her on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook.
Q What inspired you to take up photography?
My father had a Canon EOS 10D, which he let me play with from time to time. I gradually began to want to have a pretty profile picture on Facebook, but as I began to use the camera more, I started to see things I wanted to capture.
Moments between my sisters (my models), emotions I loved to see people express, like happiness, laughter, warmth - things like that. Eventually I started to take my camera (now the Canon EOS 5D) everywhere and it all just escalated from there.
Q What camera and editing software do you use?
I shoot with a Canon EOS 5D on a regular basis, however I often use the amazing Canon EOS 1D mark III. I tend to edit in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, and occasionally Adobe Photoshop.
Q How would you describe your style?
I'm not entirely sure how to describe my style, but my goal is always to have a hint of light, happiness and emotion (mostly positive emotions). I find the beauty of focus incredibly powerful, and enjoy experimenting with it.
Q Who is your favourite photographer?
I have yet to pick a favourite, but I do adore Rosie Hardy's photography.
Q What equipment do you use during a photo shoot?
I use either the 5D or 1D mark III, along with a couple of lenses - it always depends on the shoot and photographs I am looking to take, but I regularly use my favourite lens, 135mm f1/2.8 L.
QWhat websites and blogs do you keep up with?
I tend to follow most websites/people on Twitter and Facebook. For example I keep "up to date" on Rosie Hardy's latest photographs via Twitter!
Q Is there anyone or anything you would like to take a photograph of?
I would love to photograph so many people! I don't even know where to begin, the list is massive. My "top of the list" people would have to be Rosie Hardy, Miley Cyrus, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe, Tom Felton.
Q How do you see yourself in 10 years?
I hope to see myself more skilled, with knowledge and a lot of experience under my belt - and a lot more photographs in my portfolio. As I often say, my ultimate goal is to bring out the very essences and being of a person I'm photographing. So when someone looks at a photograph of themselves, their instant reaction is "Wow, you captured me to a T!"
Q What do you think makes a good photograph?
Emotion and composition. You can have a picture perfect photograph, but if it doesn't have any emotion, it's just "pretty" - it has a lack of meaning, depth and emotion.
Composition is vital, you can't have an emotional photograph without composition, you need the "security" of composition to draw the eye in to the photograph.
Q What five words would you use to describe yourself?
Dedicated, self-aware, honest, happy, ambitious.
Q What skills do you think someone needs to be a successful photographer?
Patience has to be first and foremost, followed by communication. When you're behind the camera, you have to have patience when things don't go how you want them to, and communication to help you get what you want in your shot.
Q What tips would you give to an aspiring photographer?
Try and take one photograph a day. Doing a 10/20 minute session is great, you get to practice, without getting too daunted by your goal, and if it doesn't work out how you planned, you only spent 10/20 minutes doing it, so you can easily learn and go back the next day to try again.
On top of that, I personally spent hours looking at other photographs galleries on Flickr and DeviantArt. When I look at other photographs, the questions I ask myself are "What do I like about this?" "What about the composition?" - which once again, go back to emotion and composition.
Learning angles and generally getting your eye in-tune with what's good, and what isn't good will really help improve your skill.
Apart from that, learn the basics of your camera. The more you shoot on manual, the more you'll learn about your camera. From a very early stage I shot on manual and it helped me hugely to focus on the technical side.
Q What skill do you wish you had?
I honestly wish my Photoshop skills were better. Although I'm not hugely into photo-manipulations, it would be wonderful to have the ability to do some if I wanted.
Q If you had one wish, what would it be?
I'd wish for the weather I wanted, when I wanted it!